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Kanye West & Jay-Z

Watch the Throne (Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam)

Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., Sept. 16, 2011

ACL Music Fest Friday Reviews

Kanye West & Jay-Z

Watch the Throne (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam)

Like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, Kanye West and Jay-Z understand the advantages of titans teaming together. The difference here is that hip-hop knows no salary cap, leaving rap's most successful artist and foremost pop icon free to stack Watch the Throne any way they see fit. Enter hooks from Beyoncé ("Lift Off") and Frank Ocean. Enter beats by RZA ("New Day") and the Neptunes ("Gotta Have It"). Enter samples of the Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache," Nina Simone's "Feeling Good," James Brown (several different cuts on "Gotta Have It"), and Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." That Jay and 'Ye have the courtesy to stop rapping about their money and start attacking real issues – black-on-black crime in "Murder to Excellence," raising children on "New Day" – is icing on a very expensive cake. "Who Gon Stop Me," the two ask. Nobody. They already share a booth with the competition. (Kanye West: 8:30pm, Bud Light stage)

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